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The Current State of the US Auto Market

Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
edited April 7 in General
After a lot of downs, it's looking more positive.

Punditizing welcome. :-)
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Comments

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,700
    We were using the old forum for a variety of things and this title appears to make more sense.
    Still, a bit of a surprise!

    It looks like the auto market is recovering nicely. Lots of pent up demand after the great recession. And lots of effort from many makes. My view of the makes at this point:

    GM - trying, probably not hard enough. Some good new product. Still needs a better family sedan, and image is suffering after the bailout.
    Ford - was doing well, more innovative than GM across a broad lineup. Recent electronics gremlins threaten their revival.
    Chrysler - reviving quite a bit, but from near dead. A long way to go.
    Toyota - appears to have recovered from recent years of recalls and sudden acceleration. Needs a new Corolla.
    Honda - Lost its way most of last decade. The new Accord is better and the Civic is improved. Not convinced they've done enough.
    Acura - even more lost than Honda.
    VW - Americanizing their cars which appears to be working even though I don't really like the changes. Still needs higher reliability and a better dealer network.
    Others - trying hard. Subaru is a good niche player. Mazda has some good stuff.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,349
    Simple question to ask:

    Was anyone shocked that GM's pickup sales were down in 2012 from 2008? They were the oldest trucks on the market.

    Someone (ahem) had posted elsewhere that news, without a link to where it was from, as if that were shocking news.
  • greg128greg128 Posts: 330
    The new Silverado fails to excite -

    They look impressive to me. Conservative styling, a beautiful interior and supposedly best in class fuel economy from reworked engines including a
    more powerful aluminum block 4.3L V-6. I'm glad GM is sticking with naturally aspirated engines as I still say these new turbo motors will have more problems and less longevity down the road.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    The idea is to broadly talk about the US auto market and how it's doing and where it's going.

    This discussion is not called "I don't like GM, why do you?"

    We've already hashed that subject to death so there's no use revisiting all that past history.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,349
    I'm not a truck buyer, but I see the new GM pickups to be evolutionary in styling. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. I do wonder WTH the Toyota designers were thinking about the front-end styling on the new big pickup. It's so 'busy'. Someone in California did that styling? Could've fooled me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    down in 2012 from 2008?

    Isn't everything?

    I don't think we're quite back to the party the auto industry was having in 2008.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I do wonder WTH the Toyota designers were thinking about the front-end styling on the new big pickup

    The chrome front is indeed awful, but it looks fine in body color.

    I don't get America's fascination with fake plasti-chrome on anything. I'll take my trim blacked out, thanks.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,627
    I'm not a truck buyer, but I see the new GM pickups to be evolutionary in styling. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. I do wonder WTH the Toyota designers were thinking about the front-end styling on the new big pickup.

    Yeah, the new GM trucks don't excite or offend me. The new Tundra is ugly IMO.

    I don't know if GM went far enough with the new trucks considering how long it has taken them to develop the new model. It will only be a year or so until Ford has another new F150 out and Ram won't be far behind.

    With the GM trucks I'm most curious about the 4.3 v6 and the 6.2 v8. The v6 with its displacement advantage might have enough torque for effortless light towing <6k lbs, and good economy while empty.

    On the other end, I'm curious to see what the power numbers and FE are on the 6.2. Can it match Ford's EB in regards to low rpm torque and FE. But Dodge offering a diesel is a big deal IMO. Real world 20+ mpg, and towing ability has me thinking a Dodge may be in my future.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    GM did add DI to all engines, at least.

    Toyota didn't upgrade the powertrain at all - a mistake.

    Dodge comes in with a diesel so they're the dark horse in this race.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,627
    Plus Dodge will be the first to offer an 8 speed transmission. I think the next wave of truck improvements likely will be in weight reduction.

    The GM trucks will certainly be up to date and competitive, but at this point, I don't see anything that really leap frogs the competition. Power and fuel economy are the x factor as GM hasn't released that info yet.

    I like the Ram a lot. The diesel is certainly interesting.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bingo - they didn't leap frog competitors. That was their mistake. You have to think 5 years ahead, to compete with trucks that haven't even launched yet.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    That's true in general, cars as well. We've seen the same problem in that area.

    You're starting to see a divide similar to other industries. Large,well-established companies are deeply invested in status-quo, while smaller, more agile companies tend to bring about disruptive change to an industry...and said larger companies live in eternal dread of those smaller companies.

    GM is one of those large well established companies. Frankly, so are Toyota and Honda. You're seeing the disruptive advances come from the likes of Ford, Nissan, and Mazda. Toyota's last "disruptive" change was hybrid tech, and that was years ago now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Frankly, so are Toyota and Honda

    I agree.

    Those have a major handicap, too - Lexus and Acura. Those brands put a glass ceiling on how good a Honda or Toyota can be.

    For example, Lexus get DI but Toyotas don't. Civic was cheapened to make the ILX seem worth the extra cost.

    Meanwhile, Hyundai comes in and makes DI standard on the Sonata. Half the market has yet to respond. Even the Accent has DI now. Hyundai is nimbler and has no glass ceiling, so the sky's the limit. Plus no overhead in marketing a whole other luxury brand.

    Ford's doing great but at the expensive of Lincoln.

    Nissan is hit or miss.

    Mazda has to transition from Zoom Zoom to SkyActiv fuel economy boom else they'll be doomed. :D
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    I believe there is definitely a ceiling as to how far up the market Hyundai can climb. As nobody is really buying the Equus, that ceiling is the Genesis.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True...but other mainstream brands could not even think of going there.

    Equus has sold better than the Phaeton did, FWIW.
  • I know 4 People with rams (last gen 2500 and a 3500) and 2 people with current 1500's. The general consensus is you better keep your ram on the pavement or the electrical system will rattle apart( All 4 trucks have been plagued with electrical issues). However maybe they are just unlucky......i guess no matter what you buy there are some winners and losers.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    I suspect it isn't actually making money, which might be why others wouldn't go there. I also have my suspicions about Genesis profitability, especially the loss leader models.

    Equus is cheaper with better incentives too, I think. Still, seems like something for livery service over actual private drivers.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    No transition needed, SkyActiv preserves the Zoom-Zoom. :shades: It's EPA figures hold up in the real world too, something Ford's EcoBoost is still having trouble with (though a boost gauge and some basic instructions on how to drive a turbo would fix that).

    Nissan's having good luck with their CVTs. GM is NOT having good luck with the Volt or eAssist. They need to come up with a better overall strategy like the others and stick with it.

    Chrysler needs to come up with a strategy too. Right after they look the up the word "strategy."
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    seems like something for livery service

    Agreed.

    They probably spent about 3 dollars re-engineering it for the US market.

    It's a Korean Town Car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I like the new Altima. 18.5 gallon fuel capacity plus 38mpg highway = awesome range.

    In CR's real world tests is got class leading mileage, too. Not not just good in a lab.

    But...the Versa sedan is weak, built to a price I guess, but you can damage your reputation selling too many cars like that.

    The Sentra looks better, and the back seat is shockingly huge (bigger than the Malibu's). I'll have to drive one with a CVT. A friend has the outgoing Altima and it seems to be that Nissan makes some of the better CVTs (faint praise, perhaps).

    A neighbor just replaced her MDX with a Pathfinder, so I'll check that out next time I see them.

    Let's see if the Versa Note is better than the lame (IMHO) sedan.
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